Detroit Mayor's State of the City: "We are a work in progress"
Detroit Mayor Dave Bing says he’s moved the city in the right direction.
But in his State of the City speech, Bing also warned that Governor Snyder’s proposed budget would jeopardize that progress. Snyder attended Tuesday night’s speech at Detroit’s Orchestra Hall.
Bing says the city is successfully “cleaning up its balance sheet," but Snyder’s budget would do “serious damage” to those efforts.
“No city in the state has taken such an aggressive approach to such serious structural problems as Detroit. Yet no city would be hit harder than us. It threatens the concrete but fragile gains that we’ve made and we simply can’t afford it.”
The Mayor also promised to bring the Detroit Police Department into compliance with a federal consent decree within six months. The Department has been under federal oversight for witness and prisoner civil rights violations since 2003.
Bing also praised what he calls “a new level of regional cooperation” that brokered a deal to maintain Detroit’s ownership of its water system, while giving suburban customers a say in its management. Bing also says a draft of his Detroit Works plan will go public in April. That plan calls for concentrating population and city services in Detroit’s more stable communities. But Bing says the city faces a choice between embracing that type of change, and focusing on what he calls “a vocal minority who would like to see us fail:”
“Or we can embrace this opportunity to shape a new legacy to proudly hand down to our children and grandchildren. It’s that simple.”
The speech raised the ire of union leaders, who say Bing “crossed the picket line” to speak at the home of striking Detroit Symphony Orchestra musicians. They protested outside Orchestra Hall during the address.
The DSO cancelled the remainder of its season this week, after the union rejected what orchestra management called its “final offer.”